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Bird launches electric scooters in London’s Olympic Park



Bird UK launch olympic park
Bird scooter in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic


  • Bird, the $2 billion electric scooter company, is
    launching in the UK on a single route inside the Queen
    Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
  • Bird is the first electric scooter company to launch in
    the UK, beating competitors like Lime and Uber to the
  • UK laws prevent scooters from being used on roads or
    pavements, and Bird is in the process of lobbying for
    legislative change.

Electric scooter company Bird has taken a step towards entering
the UK market by launching within the confines of London’s
Olympic Park.

While the buzzy US startup can’t fully launch in Britiain because
of laws that prevent scooters from being used on roads or
pavements, Bird has found a way to get off the ground.

From Tuesday, Bird will make its scooters available along a route
in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. It follows
talks with “multiple private landowners,” according to Bird UK
Head Richard Corbett.

The Olympic Park was selected because its owners, the London
Legacy Development Corporation, have toyed with new tech ventures
in the past (such as a driverless bus), and
because Bird was keen to solve what it views as a “mobility

At one end of the Olympic Park sits a business campus which
houses multiple companies, plus two university campuses, to which
Bird aims to provide faster access. Here’s the route:

Bird London Route
The Bird route.

“This particular location suffers from a 30-minute walk from here
all the way to the nearest tube station,” Corbett told Business
Insider. “Using electric scooters we’re able to turn a 30-minute
walk into a four-minute Bird ride.”

The plan is to start out with just 50 scooters and scale up
depending on demand. “Gone are the days where you’ve seen
dockless schemes in the past flood a market and annoy the city,”
said Corbett. “We do responsible scaling.”

Eddie the Eagle   Bird UK.JPG
“The Eagle” Edwards on a Bird scooter.


Capped at a maximum speed of 15 mph, the scooters are geofenced,
which means if anyone rides outside of the designated route the
scooter will start to slow down and stop working.

Meanwhile, a handful of designated “Birdwatchers” will be
stationed in the park throughout the day to make sure people are
parking properly and dismounting to crossroads.

To mark the launch, Bird invited Olympic skier Eddie “The Eagle”
Edwards to be its first UK rider.

Bird lobbying against old laws

Electric scooter companies have been unable to launch in the UK
because of a 1988 law forbidding them from being used on the
roads, and an 1835 law preventing them from riding on the
Business Insider saw emails from Bird to London transport
regulator TfL complaining about the 1835 law.

Corbett told Business Insider that Bird is focussed on lobbying
to get scooters onto the road, not the pavement. “It’s just a
matter of time, we need to take everyone on a journey and we’re
patient,” he said.

He said Bird doesn’t know how long it might take to effect any
legislative change, as the scooters will have to go through
rigorous safety testing.

“We’re not going to launch without the city’s approval. So
anything the DfT [Department for Transport] wants us to do we
will do to demonstrate viability,” Corbett added.

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